What's really to blame for America's mass shooting epidemic: Mental health or guns? | The Tylt

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What's really to blame for America's mass shooting epidemic: Mental health or guns?
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After the Las Vegas shooting left 58 dead and over 500 wounded, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press conference that mental illness―not easy access to guns―was to blame for the tragedy. Ryan claimed mental health reform was a "critical ingredient" to address and prevent future mass shootings. 

Ryan also defended law-abiding gun owners, pushing back against the desire of many to respond to the Vegas shooting with gun control legislation, "we cannot let the actions of a single person define us as a country."

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But research suggests the link between mental illness and gun violence is actually much weaker than expected. Olga Khazan argues in The Atlantic while improving mental health care would be a good thing for the country, it would do almost nothing to prevent mass shootings.

The connection between mental illness and mass shootings is weak, at best, because while mentally ill people can sometimes be a danger to themselves or others, very little violence is actually caused by mentally ill people. 
A study of convicted murderers in Indiana found that just 18 percent had a serious mental-illness diagnosis. Killers with severe mental illnesses, in that study, were actually less likely to target strangers or use guns as their weapon, and they were no more likely than the mentally healthy to have killed multiple people.
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Many still believe mental health is the most important contributor to mass shootings.

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But others believe mental health discussions among Republicans is just away to avoid addressing gun control.

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What's really to blame for America's mass shooting epidemic: Mental health or guns?
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